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SC stops expulsion of party-list lawmaker

March 4, 2013 4:47pm

The Supreme Court has temporarily stopped the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from expelling a party-list lawmaker from his group, which "disowned" him December last year for allegeldy violating an internal agreement within the group.

In an en banc ruling, the high court issued a temporary restraining order against a Comelec en banc resolution dated January 31 that upheld the decision of the central committee of the Ating Koop party-list last December 2011 to remove Isidro Lico as its member.

The committee decided that the post vacated by Lico within the group would be assumed by its second nominee Roberto Mascarina. The party-list currently has one seat in Congress occupied by Lico.

Lico was expelled for allegedly refusing to honor a term-sharing agreement with Mascarina. The central committee said Lico failed to “uphold the validity, legality, and binding effect of the agreement.“

The party-list then informed the Comelec of its decision to expel Lico, which the poll body upheld in its January 31 ruling. However, as to the party-list's request to oust Lico as congressman, the Comelec said it has no jurisdiction over the matter and that only the House of Representatives' Electoral Tribunal can decide on it.

The party-list had already informed House Speaker Feliciano R. Belmonte Jr. about Lico's expulsion last December.

But Lico could not be removed yet for now, following the latest Supreme Court ruling.

"The Court resolved to... Issue a temporary restraining order, effective immediately and continuing until further orders from this Court, enjoining the respondents from enforcing or implementing the assailed Comelec en banc resolution dated January 31, 2013," the Supreme Court said.

The high tribunal ordered the Comelec to file within 10 days from notice its comment on the petition questioning Lico's expulsion.

"Now, therefore, effective immediately and continuing until further orders from this Court, You, respondents Commission on Elections and Ating Koop partylist, as represented by Amparo T. Rimas, your agents, representatives, or persons acting in your place or stead, are hereby ordered to Cease and Desist from enforcing or implementing the assailed Comelec en banc resolution dated January 31, 2013 in E.M. No. 12-039 upholding the expulsion of Cong. Isidro Q. Lico from Ating Koop partlylist and upholding the legitimacy of Ating Koop partylist represented by Amparo T. Rimas to the exclusion of the petitioners," the court ruling stated. — Mark D. Merueñas/KBK, GMA News




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